Some clients get stuck on their “limited” capabilities. To get unstuck, one must break that kind of fixed mindset.

From elementary school through high school, I had never been the brightest kid in the class. My classmates would barely crack a book and ace the test. I would carry an arm load of books home (before we wore backpacks or had laptops). Little did I know that my hard work actually broadened my mindset.

On my first day of college freshman calculus class, my professor in my freshman calculus class gave a speech in a lecture hall of over 300 students. “Look around you. Half of you will be gone before the date to avoid a W on your grade sheet for withdrawing. Of the half that stay, half will receive a W for withdrawing. Of that half that remains, half will fail.”

photo by Christin Hume

I went to school prior to the promotion of self-esteem.

So, I did what I had done my entire life, I searched for a way to learn. I cracked the books. When that did not work, I asked teacher assistants for extra help. I also discovered extra practice problem books at the college book store. I aced the class.

But my high school classmates failed many classes in their first semester of college.

As Carol Dweck says in her book Mindset Psychology, they had a “fixed mindset.” They were so use to not needing to work. Once their natural intelligence reached a limit, they assumed they were done and failed.

On the other hand, I, though a pessimist at the time, had a growth mindset. I was so use to proving myself that I knew I needed a way to adapt to college level of learning. If the class textbook did not work, get help from TA. If that did not work, find extra problems to practice.

Today, I see young people approach the workplace and really freak out because they cannot do what they did. They do not say “hey what worked before will not work now. I’ll adjust.” Instead, they become discouraged, complain about the environment, and/or quit.

Everyone will reach the plateau where their natural abilities will not be enough. Ask pro players after they get out of college.

One must have the growth mindset to know that they need to adjust their methodologies on how to learn, how to work, or how to cope. It is not a one-time adjustment. As we rise, we need to raise our game. We figure out other methods to comprehend and succeed.

I am not saying that without ability anyone can be a football player making millions of dollars with the right mindset. However, if you are in a field that you fuels your passion, you figure out how to do it with a growth mindset.

BTW: Speaking of football, my little nine year old nephew played against a massively bigger opposing team for the “super bowl.” (I would have faked an illness to get excused.) One of the player’s father told my nephew how to use leverage to avoid getting slammed as he did in the previous meeting with these kids. My nephew won his super bowl. His proud aunt held the trophy.

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